I completed my 4th half marathon today!
I love the show Biggest Loser, so I didn't hesitate to sign up when I heard they were coming to town with their run/walk 5K and Half Marathon. Maybe a half marathon two weeks after my wedding wasn't such a smart idea in hindsight, but hey, I did it.
The race started at 9:00AM, which is a later start than I am used to, so I enjoyed the extra time to wake up, drink my coffee, and mentally prepare for the race. We got to the starting line around 8:50 with just enough time to get our gear together, snap a picture, aaaaaannnddd wait.
We found out five minutes before the start time that the half marathon runners would be starting in small groups THEN the 5k runners could start. Well, at 8:55, EVERYONE was lined up at the start line so it was very crowded and a lot of people didn't understand where to be. The National Anthem was finally sung (beautifully) at 9:00AM (although scheduled for 8:50AM) and we finally crossed the start line just after 9:05AM. Grr.
The weather was chilly at only 35 degrees, but once we were a couple of miles in, we felt comfortable to ditch our extra layers. That is until we hit the bridge that crosses the river... which happened to the be same time it started raining. Talk about BRR! Apparently I didn't empty my bladder enough before the race because I was dying to pee once we were over the bridge. I finally found a port-a-potty without a long line (mind you this was at mile 6 and only the 3rd port-a-potty we had seen) and quickly took advantage. Abby kept trucking along and I caught up with her within a few minutes.
At the half way point, we got to see my hubby, brother, sister-in-law and niece!
My niece made us a sweet sign that kept us going!
After we saw them, the rain started to come down heavier and it was a cold second half to the race. Seven hours later, I'm still cuddled up in my slippers and a blanket!
We felt strong up until about mile 10, when we both started to experience some cramping. Abby pushed through but I stopped to do some quick stretching before catching up with her again. At mile 11, I honestly wondered if I was going to be able to make it. My feet, ankles, calves, and hips were burning and cramping. I even sent Terry a text saying "I don't know if I'm going to be able to finish!". At mile 12.5, Abby slipped away to finish strong and I held back and finished about a minute after her.
While I'm proud that I finished, I definitely regret the lack of training I completed prior to the race. While the weather you can't predict or change, I was pretty disappointed in the overall race experience. There were not enough port-a-potties (the one that I stopped at didn't even have a working lock and I accidentally opened the door on someone going... sorry to whoever that was!), not enough water stations or medical tents (I saw one medical tent and it was completed deserted), and things just seemed very disorganized by not following the schedule that was sent to all participants earlier in the week.
I do want to give a shout out to the water station that was near mile 11 (by Water Street)! They had loud music, people dancing and cheering, handing out water instead of leaving it on the table for runners to grab themselves, and tons of energy! It was contagious and couldn't have been a better spot for all of the energy to push through the pain!
I really hate to be a downer on the race because I understand it's a lot of work to put together such a big event. Maybe I just had too high of hopes because I was so stoked about The Biggest Loser coming to town. I have seen many awesome pictures and heard of many success stories about this being a first 5k or half for many people and I applaud everyone on their accomplishments! I hope it's a new beginning for them all!
I would tell you my official finishing time, but the results page online only shows the top finishers in each age group so I'm not sure what the official time is yet (another grr). But MapMyRun states that I finished around 2:45.
HUGE congratulations to my bestie, Abby, who finished her first half marathon! She didn't let down once and kept a solid pace the entire time... heck, she even finished in front of me! Love you, girl! Can't wait to run another race with you :)
She's already sporting the new bumper sticker I stuck in her bridal party bag for my wedding! ;)